Biblical Archaeology Review 19:5, September/October 1993
Dead Sea Scrolls Research Council: Fragments

Tapping the Mother Lode

Qumran Cave 4: Palaeo-Hebrew and Greek Biblical Manuscripts (Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, Volume 9)

Patrick W. Skehan, Eugene Ulrich and Judith E. Sanderson, with a contribution by P.J. Parsons (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992) 250 pp., 47 plates, $105.00

Qumran Cave 4 contained the mother lode of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Nearly 600 of the more than 800 scrolls found in 11 caves were recovered from Cave 4. But not a single one of the Cave 4 scrolls was intact; all were fragmentary.

Of the nearly 600 fragmentary scrolls from Cave 4, 127 have been identified as Biblical scrolls. This volume publishes 15 of these fragmentary Biblical scrolls from Cave 4. They fall into three categories:

1. Six Biblical manuscripts in Hebrew, but written in paleo-Hebrew script—that is, the script commonly used before the Babylonian Exile, which began in 586 B.C.E. with the destruction of Jerusalem. The paleo-Hebrew script is far different from the square Aramaic script that the Jewish exiles brought back with them 50 years later and that is still used today.

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